In England, cheese & onions crisps may reign supreme. But there’s another brand of crisps featuring hollowed cylinders that hold the nation’s heart.
Hula Hoops are they! And they are mighty tasty and all that jazz. Thus, let us explore this mighty snack and its merry story of crunch.
What are Hula Hoops Crisps?
They’re “potato rings” (or hollowed cylinder) crisps in a circular shape. They’re made out of potatoes and corn.
Hula Hoops are most notable due to their unusual structure, which is circular with a hollowed out centre.
Its appearance is iconic, kind of the way Jaffa Cakes are with their sponge backside and chocolate top.
As for Hula Hoops, the crisps are also sold in New Zealand, France, and South Africa. Belgium also sells them, but they’re called Croky over there. For whatever reason.
The History of Hula Hoops Crisps
Hula Hoops first launched in 1973. Fact. Other than that, we really don’t have much else to report from the history of these things.
We did find some really weird old adverts online, such as the above one from 1984.
It plays on Eddie Cochran, we guess, with a Crunch Everybody type hit single. His song was C’mon Everybody. So, yeah, that’s the lampoon there.
Anyway, the foodstuff range is owned by KP Snacks in Slough, Berkshire, near to London. It also produces other popular British snacks such as Choc Dips, Discos, Pom-Bears, Frisps, and McCoy’s.
KP Snacks has shaken up the Hula Hoop range sporadically.
But what’s remained consistent is how bizarre the advertising campaigns have been for the hollowed cylinders. Like marketing executives couldn’t get their heads around what to do with the things.
In 1996, there first non-round range (square ones) got a launch. We have no recollection of that, we must say.
That same year, comedians Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse were paid a lot of money to star in an advert for the crisps. Here it is. We do remember this one!
And in 2001, Hula Hoops XL packs launched in a range of flavours.
More new tastes emerged in 2002 for the smaller range, including cheese toastie and bacon & ketchup flavours. Then a packaging redesign emerged in 2017 and was followed in 2018 by the arrival of tangy cheese flavour.
Plus, a healthier Puft range launched as well packing only 72 calories per much.
But… but… but. It’s that original red Hula Hoops pack that remains the most famous and iconic of all.
What’s the World’s Longest Hula Hoop?
In October 2014, the Manchester Evening News reported on the world’s longest Hula Hoop crisp. An artist and musician called Stuart Hampton was bestowed with this gift in a packet of the hollowed out cylinders.
He put the monstrosity onto eBay for a meagre £1, but this eventually shot up to £712. Hampton squealed to the MEN:
“Legally the bidder has to pay up, I think, but I won’t pursue it if they don’t, it’s only a crisp after all. If he or she doesn’t pay within the next few days I will get in touch with the other people and sell it to one of them.”
However, news of an EVER BIGGER one emerged soon after. A four-year-old in Edinburgh apparently unearthed a five-inch Hula Hoop!
Again with another however! As behold what most undoubtedly be the most enormous Hula Hoop ever recorded, from May 2020!
That’s courtesy of YouTuber Rob Cram. We think that’s probably the ultimate world record right there as anything beyond that wouldn’t fit into the crisp packet.
Truly, that is a miracle right there. It makes us weep tears of joy knowing the thing exists in all of its purity.
But… we were wrong!
Because in August 2021 the legend that is now Sam Lightfoot (26) unearthed a four-inch Hula Hoop whopper in his crisp packet.
That was in the salt and vinegar range. It’s some EIGHT times the size of your average hollowed cylinder crisp.
Lightfoot (from Cumbria) is an offshore wind farmer and crisp eating enthusiast. He said:
“We’ve been worried about breaking it so we’re keeping it safe in its packet in the utility room. We’ve seen online that someone got £20,000 for a puffed-up Dorito they found, but we’re not planning to sell this—it’s too sentimental. I’ll probably keep it forever and hand it down through the family.”
The above video references a man called Rowan Umland (19) from Peckham, London, who found a 3.7 inch hoop.
Then it mentioned Stuart Hampton from earlier, whose Hula Hoop turned out to be a pathetic three inches.
Now, Mr. Lightfoot is well and truly the champion of the hollowed cylinder community.
What About Hula Hoops and The Vicar of Dibley?
In the 1998 episode Love and Marriage of The Vicar of Dibley, Alice Tinker (Emma Chambers) marries her geezer.
However, there is no ring. Thusly, what solution is available?
Of course, Hula Hoops! Ever since watching that episode we’ve had this idea in mind. Seems like a gap in the wedding ring market, you know?
Those things are expensive, why doesn’t KP Snacks start a budget range of engagement and wedding rings? Missed opportunity.